Five elderly residents in a care home in south-western France died from suspected food poisoning.
Shares in French social healthcare provider Korian, which owns a company that managed the facility, fell more than 7pc following news of the deaths.
The local authority said 22 residents fell ill after Friday’s evening meal of a duck salad at the Cheneraie care home in Lherm, 30km south of Toulouse. Of those, five died – four women and a man, aged from 76 to 95 – and 15 were seriously ill and treated in hospital.
The salad ingredients, including duck foie gras (pâté), are being examined.
Prosecutors have put the suspicious ingredients under lock and key, as they prepare possible manslaughter charges against the management.
The home is run by Omega, which Korian bought earlier this year. A Korian spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
A source close to the investigation said the home’s catering operation had recently been outsourced.
Korian’s share price was down 7.26pc at €33.46 per share by early morning trading, its sharpest daily fall since February 2018.
Korian has operations in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. In France, it manages 294 nursing homes.